I wish to refer to something that has happened to myself and several others in Saskatchewan in regard to this cooperative elevator matter. When the Saskatchewan cooperative elevators started, in order to build elevators, they took two cents a b-ushel from all the people who gave them wheat to handle, and they took over S6.000.000 for a reserve fund, amounting in all to about eighteen to nineteen million dollars. At that
The Budget-Mr. Donnelly
time they promised us that they would pay interest on it at six per cent. I have here an extract from the second annual report of the Saskatchewan Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited, dated October 12, 1926, at page 6:
The deduction of two cents per bushel for acquiring elevator facilities as provided under the growers' contract amounted, as a result of last season's operations, to $2,751,765.91. Of this amount the sum of $2,000,000 was turned over to Saskatchewan Pool Elevators Limited to apply on the purchase of the Saskatchewan Cooperative Elevator Company's system, and the balance for the extension of the pool elevator system in other directions. The pool holds stock in the pool elevator company for these amounts plus last year's elevator deductions used in acquiring and constructing elevators.
An account has been opened for each grower crediting him with the full amount of the deductions made out of his deliveries, and it has been decided that such deductions will, subject to the earning capacity of the pool elevator system, bear interest at the rate of six per cent per annum. Interest will be paid in cash at the end of the contract period, when a certificate of beneficial interest, covering the total deductions in each grower's account will also be issued.
They paid that for a few years, but they have not paid any since 1929. They pay no interest on their capital; they are paying no income tax, and they have taken in S18,000,000. It would be a queer thing if they did not prosper. I should like a little of that $18,000,000 myself. Thus we have this company that has taken all this money out of the pockets of the farmers of western Canada, paying no interest on it and paying no income tax, saying, " Boy, we are great business men." What a company! And they call themselves cooperatives.
Then the other evening I believe it was the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. Castleden) who referred to the fact that we had interlocking directorates in some of our banks of eastern Canada, that certain men were the directors of banks and of other companies. That was a crime; that was almost an unforgivable sin to the people over in that corner. It is all wrong when it is down east, but it is all right when it is out west. I hold in my hand the annual report of the Saskatchewan Pool Elevator company, and as I look over it I find that the same men are directors of Saskatchewan Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited, Modern Press Limited, Saskatchewan Pool Elevators Limited, Saskatchewan Pool Terminals Limited, and so on. They take a few men from Saskatchewan, a few from Alberta and a few from Manitoba, and make them directors of the Canadian Cooperative Wheat Producers Limited and the Canadian Pool Agencies Limited. It is the same thing; these are interlocking directorates, but it is all right out there.
My time is almost gone, Mr. Speaker. I had intended to deal with many other matters, but I should like to mention just one other thing in passing. I notice that our hon. friends in the corner to my left have a tendency to compare everything that happens in this country with what is done in Australia and New Zealand. For instance, at the present time we have before a committee of the house this question of social insurance, and we find the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation group viewing the whole business with suspicion. I do not know whether he is suspicious of the legislation or of the members of the committee or of the members of the house, but those people are suspicious of everything. It must be terrible to live with men like that. They go on and say, " Why, look at Australia and New Zealand, how they manage their old age pensions. Look at the early age at which it is paid; look at the amounts they pay." That is all quite true; the old age pension is paid at an earlier age, and the amounts paid are greater. But they do not tell us that in those countries the people pay for their old age pensions, and we do not. Here it is handed to the people by the government. There they pay for it as an insurance scheme, and you have a right to do what you like with what you pay for. In this country, however, it is a gift handed out by the government, and it is free.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE